Live, Learn, and Love.
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Idea (hoping to get started in the future)
1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."
As a student who has just finished her first year at college, and especially as a resident of the United States for only three years, I have been very dependent on university resources to “stay-afloat.” During this three-year journey, I have come to realize that although there are numerous resources available to students, they sometimes prove to be inaccessible or difficult to navigate. Therefore, I, along with my time, have envisioned an application to consolidate resources and to make asking for help easier. Moreover, I, as well as many of my peers, have greatly benefited from supportive classmates and faculty. However, we realize that not everyone is so fortunate. As such, we hope to share our fortune with others, making help and advising available to all who seek it out.
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
1- There are instances when students would need immediate assistance with course materials. Although in-person help is definitely effective--sometimes--students might not have enough time to make the trip to an instructor’s office hours.
2- There are times when students need academic help, but there are no office hours available (e.g.; it is too late at night or too early in the morning).
3- Office hours might be busy and crowded!
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Learn Live is a potential social network and organization that connects available students and on-campus organizations with students needing quick responses to questions--both personal and academic. The aim of the platform is to provide effective advising for struggling students by increasing accessibility while also eliminating the distractions associated with a typical social medium.
Students, Professors, Teaching Assistants, Course Assistants, mental health advisers, etc., would all be free to register accounts--potentially verified by university IDs. However, public profiles would remain anonymous, especially when dealing with mental health advising.
Academically: In their accounts, users would be directed to specify their areas of expertise and/or courses they have taken--and more specifically, how comfortable they feel with certain subjects. For instance, a given user indicates that he has taken Physics 101 and then chooses the topic of poynting vector and specifies, on a scale of 1-10, how much mastery he feels he has on the topic.
Users would be able customize which areas they are shown as online for, at a certain time.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
As you wait for an upcoming club meeting, you mindlessly scroll through social media. Soon, you stumble across a friend’s nostalgic “A year ago, I submitted my college application to…” You recall the struggles you experienced and think, “I wish I could help some students now in my old shoes.” Through Learning Live, you are able to put that idle time to good use. You mark yourself available to answer questions. Almost immediately, you receive a notification from a high-schooler asking for writing tips for his college essays. You exchange messages with and are able to put some of his concerns to ease. You exchange goodbyes, just in time for your meeting. You close Learning Live, feeling fulfilled and wear a smile for the rest of you day!
5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
While there are tutoring services, one of our key goals is to expand these one-to-one live chats beyond just academics, to include mental health support groups, as well as community outreach programs.
Social media users are typically limited to only peers they know. However, using our hypothetical algorithm, we would be able to greatly expand the support network of our users. Additionally, this method can prove distracting and ineffective.
Most tutoring services charge costly fees for their clients. This profit model disproportionately disadvantages lower-income students.
6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Our project is in the idea-stage at the moment. We plan to have different kinds of surveys, to assess the effectiveness of Learning Live and to make improvements to address its shortcomings. We would also use outreach to increase clientele while also surveying university student bodies to assess the reach of the application.
We also plan to monitor progress through user-size and activity. The more users--and the more active they are--the more progress we will have made. We can also tally the number of questions answered.
Additionally, we can mark progress with the number of organizations that we are able to partner with--and eventually, with the number of universities who begin to adopt our platform. Luckily, Learning Live is an application which an independent student or organization at any university or town across the globe can get involved in.
7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Our team came up with the Learning Live idea over this summer, all having experienced our first year of college and recognizing both the advantages and shortcomings of resources on campus. Subsequently, our development is constrained by our remoteness from our university and its administrators. Nonetheless, we are in the process of establishing a “Game-Plan” for our app development and outreach to various entities at our university such as the Bureau of Study Counsel, which provides peer-tutoring for undergraduates; and the Honor Council, which upholds the Honor Code for the college.
8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?
There are three general areas where we will need support:
1- We would greatly benefit from the support of our university administrators and various school organizations to effectively launch our application.
2- Although our team consists of talented individuals dedicated to our mission of accessibility and connectivity, we can always benefit from “more hands on deck.” The advice we receive on website / app development, nonprofit management, and outreach, would all be extremely beneficial in the expansion of our shared dream.
3- Funding, mentorship, and networking would all be crucial in helping our project soar. As we mention in our video, we can only change the world together.
9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
How did you hear about this challenge?